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The sky weeps

For the last few days, the sky here in the San Francisco Bay has been filled with smoke, blown this way from a fire 100 miles away. At least 40 people died in that fire, a whole town destroyed, and many others missing. One reporter described the sky over the town as raining down ash.

On this day, the 100 year anniversary of the end of World War I, the news in the US is filled with stories of the man who calls himself President, unwilling to step out into the rain to lay a wreath. Unwilling to partake in our communal, world wide weep.

And I'm thinking about my trip to Iceland on Thursday, of the carbon dioxide the plane will be spewing into the sky. My third round trip from SF to Iceland this year, and I don't have anyway to make up for my carbon footprint. But in all honesty, I'm also wondering how bad the weather will be, if I'll have to be out braving wind and snow for the shot the documentary film maker wants, of me walking around outside. Will the landscape remembe…

Monster Movies

I completed my second round trip flight to Iceland of the summer on Wednesday, which is a new record for me. I usually try to keep my carbon-footprint from international flights down to one a year, although I know there have been times when it has been twice a year. Just not usually within three weeks of each other to the same destination. Clearly a very silly plan.

One of those four flights was on WOW Air, and I'm very glad that was not on the return flight home yesterday. It is of course a recognized business strategy of low-cost airlines that after you buy your ticket, they subsequently charge you for absolutely everything, and although I knew that, I must say it surprised me that this extended to getting water on board. I sort of thought they were legally required to at least give people water. But nope, you have to pay for that too. But the biggest surprise is that although the plane was new and fancy, there was no entertainment console.

Flying back and forth to Iceland is an…

The 80

One of the linguistic quirks that one might even call a dialectical distinguishing mark for Californians is that we put a The in front of road names. To demonstrate this in a sentence: Last night I was driving on the 80 through the Sierra Mountains.

Which is also a true sentence, not just a linguistic utterance. It is also true that I was very grateful to have had six years of driving in Iceland, and up and down Reykjanesbraut, to boost my confidence while navigating the 80 in the midst of a snowstorm.

I suspect there are also Reykjavík dialectical markers. I' reading an Icelandic book right now, which means I occasionally encounter words I don't know.  All the words ive needed to look up have not been in the dictionary.  The author
is either using such modern Icelandic that it isn't in the dictionary, or making words up a la Laxness, or speaking Reykjavíkese.

Icelandic Provisions

My new job does not afford me much time to maintain my blog, nor keep up with news in Iceland. But with a sore throat and stuffy head, I've been home for two days now resting, catching up on some reading and writing. Reading an article for peer review related to the sagas, and writing script about the Norse gods. That is a happy beginning to the new year for me.

And I'm happy to report that there is now available at the stores in the U.S. a product called "Icelandic Provisions". It is skyr, and comes in a nifty square container, unlike all the other yogurts in circular shapes. I'm digging it. OK, well, more important than the packaging is that it actually tastes like Skyr! I applaud Siggi for trying his healthy weird skyr like thing in the stereotypical round container, but I am so glad that a more authentic product is on the market. I think MS Mjolk owns it, and I am very glad they have figured out a marketing strategy that allows their products to reach U.S. co…

Silly Stanford

I started work at the Los Altos History Museum on Monday, which is a few miles away from Stanford University. Stanford used to have a professor of Old Norse literature, and a very distinguished one at that. But about a decade ago that went poof! And they have never replaced the position.

So I guess I'll be going to Berkeley for Old Norse lectures.

Tím breyting

I don't know when the clocks will officially spring forward, but for me it's two weeks from now, when I start my new job. I'm saying goodbye to academia, and to Scandinavian studies, for awhile at least, working on my leadership and management skills, as well as exhibit skills, at a dedicated museum. Should be a good change, and I'm happy and excited to be getting back to California, and back to my son. I've been away too long.

I've been happy and confident and relaxed about beginning a new phase of my life, although tonight I feel a bit melancholy. I guess the part about not having any professional reason to go to Iceland ever again is kind of weird for me. I was realizing last night that as I fall asleep, I'm often visualizing myself wandering alone around the streets of Reykjavík. I spent a lot of time doing that when I lived in Iceland, and some of the time I was crying. As I am now.

Day 8

Well it is 8 days into the Trump administration, and it already feels like years. Years living in some sort of bizarre alternative reality. Things are not unfolding as I would have wanted them to, not by a long shot, for the country as a whole. Day to day for me personally, life goes on as if none of this madness in Washington matters. But it does matter. Immigrants stopped at the airport, subjected to confusing interrogations. Our international obligations to care for families and the environment, to expand economic opportunity, tossed out the window. Wow, it is just so dumbfoundingly stupefying. The waste of it all, watching potential evaporate minute by minute, but in slow motion, as if it were taking days, weeks, months and years. And having no way to turn back the hands of time, to undo this disaster. Under Obama, it seemed the emerging global world was on the verge of environmental and economic responsibility and justice. I miss that feeling. And I'm sad it was all so epheme…